Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

vacant whilst he remained a prisoner in German hands. Anders had
heard the outcome of the Yalta Conference while in Italy and had sent
a telegram to the President of the Polish Republic to the effect that his
troops, " do not recognise and shall never recognise unilateral decisions,"
and that " for his soldiers only the President was representing Poland."
There has been the general assumption regarding the Churchill-Anders
talk., that it might be classified as one cf the attempts on the part of the
British Prime Minister to find a suitable tool among the Poles abroad
to serve his Russian policy. But Anders, like the majority of his men,
had already passed through the Soviet dungeons and like them he had
no intention of going there again. Therefore any discussion with Anders
seemed useless and it can certainly be assumed that had the British
Government recognised the c Lublin Committee ' at this stage, there
would have been no question of the Polish Army continuing its fight.
The battle of Germany was still raging. Polish troops numbered over
200,000 and were rapidly increasing with every liberated mile of France^
Belgium and Holland and.,—they were still useful. A few days after
this interview Anders was given a temporary appointment as Corninander-
in-Chief, thus technically giving the British Prime Minister., the oppor-
tunity of talking with him in this new capacity. Churchill would then
be speaking with an officer who had authority to discuss any problem
connected with the Polish Army in the Anglo-American zone of war.
The prompt and characteristic reaction of the British Foreign Office
to Anders' appointment was that it had been made without the
cognisance and approval of that Office, as if justifying in anticipation
a criticism from Moscow. The new Polish C-in-C,, issued his first
order of the day on April 26 :—
" I am assuming the duties of Commander-in-Chief of the Polish armed
forces under orders from the President of the Republic, in Poland's direst
hour. The Polish armed forces remain the expression and the token of the
sovereignty of the Polish Republic . . . With our standards covered with
glory we are facing the greatest tragedy of our nation.
" The eyes of all Poles scattered throughout the world, and in particular
of our countrymen in our martyred home country., are hopefully directed
upon us.
" They know that we shall continue on our hard, soldierly path in accord-
ance with our oath under the orders of the President, the lawful representa-
tive of the sovereignty of the Polish Republic., and under the directions of
our lawful Government.
" If strangers, or people of small heart, ask you what are you fighting for,,
you will reply that the Polish soldier to-day is fighting for the same object
for which he went into battle five years ago; that force should not prevail
over law and justice, neither in our country nor in the world."
The following extracts from the Polish press throw some lights on
the reaction of the Poles to the sequence of events. The Polish Thought
(London) wrote:—